I started as a lumber grader, working in the planer before I began my millwright apprenticeship at the Quesnel sawmill. I did my entire apprenticeship with West Fraser. Last year I was promoted to Weekend Maintenance Supervisor – a job that I really enjoy.
What I like the most about working here are the people that I get to work with every day. I have an incredible team of experienced and skilled millwrights that make even challenging days at the mill fun. I also supervise our 20 person weekend cleanup crew of people who are really excellent and who have as much as 30 years’ experience, which is really amazing for me.
In addition to the people see every day, I feel really fortunate to work on top-of-the-line equipment. I like to work for a mill that I think is ahead of the industry in safety, dust control, efficient production, great people and great equipment. I’m competitive. Working in this kind of high-performance production environment keeps me on my toes.
Why did I choose this career? I chose it because it offered me an opportunity to work in a great job and maintain an active lifestyle that allows me to spend time with my family. I work with a great crew and I am home every night to see my wife and kids. I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
- Mike Weekend Maintenance Supervisor
Working as technical summer student at Slave Lake Pulp was an extremely valuable experience. I’ve lived in Slave Lake since Grade 7. I had heard of the pulp mill but never really understood what it encompassed.
When I started, I quickly realized everyone here contributes hard work and their spirit to the environment at the mill. They immediately made me feel welcome and provided me with so many great opportunities. Going into second year engineering, I feel that this summer job helped me to learn important skills including safety when working in an industrial environment and time management, which I will take with me through my future jobs. A dynamic and constantly changing work environment made Slave Lake Pulp an exciting and challenging place to work, giving me a comfortable level of responsibility while ensuring I had all the support and guidance I needed. To anyone who is looking for great summer experience, I would highly recommend Slave Lake Pulp.
- Jennifer Technical summer student
After I graduated from high school, my first job was in the wood energy industry as an operator. There I had a chance to see what the electricians were doing on site and I became very interested in pursuing the trade.
I started as an apprentice electrician in the “oil patch” for an oil and gas company in Northern Alberta and worked there for two and half years. The job was a lot of grunt work and long hours. I was worried about being stuck in a narrow position where I would not have an opportunity to learn the full spectrum of my trade. I decided to work in residential, and then commercial construction to round out my skills. In the last year of my apprenticeship, an opportunity came up at West Fraser’s Slave Lake Veneer mill and I jumped at the job. I am really glad I did.
At first, I was overwhelmed – but I feel like I have learned more at West Fraser in a few months than I learned in years at other jobs. At the beginning I planned on moving on from here after I stopped learning, but three years into this job I feel I have only learned a portion of what I am capable of. At Slave Lake Veneer I get to work with state-of-the-art technology. I am grateful for the support, patience and mentorship from my colleagues to continue to learn new skills. There are plenty of hands-on opportunities to improve my skills because we are always pushing the technology forward and experimenting to improve the operation of the mill.
Working in a veneer mill has been amazing for me. The people I work with are excellent and the broadness of what we deal with compared to other places I have worked is extraordinary. What I would like to tell other tradespeople considering working for West Fraser is that the opportunity to grow at this Company really never ends – and that is hard to find anywhere."
- Tony Electrical Charge Hand
Working at Slave Lake Pulp has been one of the best work experiences I have ever had. I have spent three summers working there. During that time I have gained tons of experience in the field of engineering.
The mill is very safety oriented and has a great safety training program which will prepare you for any industrial/construction job site in the future. The mill has a great work atmosphere filled with even better people, and is always moving forward, allowing students to be involved with new and exciting projects. If you enjoy the outdoors, Slave Lake will provide you with all the outdoor activities you can think of such as fishing, hiking, swimming, golf, etc. I highly recommend Slave Lake Pulp to any and all engineering students looking to gain experience and to work with some great people.
- Ryan Engineering Co-Op Student
My first 8-month co-op work term at Slave Lake Pulp. At first, I was nervous about what to expect as well as the idea of relocating to a small town. I was able to get accustomed to the workplace in no time, thanks to the help I have received from the other co-workers who were very friendly and willing to help.
I was very satisfied with my work experience at Slave Lake Pulp and in my opinion it is filled with very good learning opportunities all around. Now in my fourth year of chemical engineering and looking back at my time in Slave Lake, I realized I lacked a little on the initiative and missed out a bit on the technical learning opportunities available. However, with a little initiative and motivation, a work term at Slave Lake Pulp can become a great learning experience. I encourage any students in the Co-op program who are looking for a good experience in the manufacturing industry to try a work term or two at Slave Lake Pulp.
- Chris Co-Op Student
I'm a University of Alberta Forestry Grad and have now been working for West Fraser for over 12 years. My first summer of Forestry work experience was with West Fraser at Chetwynd Forest Industries.
I worked that summer as a Silviculture Assistant and gained field experience in a wide range of tasks. Following the completion of my forestry degree, I was given the opportunity to return to work at the Chetwynd division the following summer and fall as a Silviculture and Planning Assistant.
While working in Chetwynd, a permanent job opening came available at Blue Ridge Lumber - another division of West Fraser. I've been working at Blue Ridge Lumber since then as a Silviculture Supervisor, and recently as Silviculture Superintendent. I originally went into Forestry looking for a challenging career and the opportunity to live and work in the outdoors. West Fraser has provided me with excellent opportunities for building a career while also raising a family. My work experience has given me exposure to all aspects of the business and excellent advancement opportunities. I'm looking forward to many more successful years with the company.
- Shane Silviculture Superintendent
I was born and raised in Quesnel, BC and completed my Bachelor of Science in Forestry, majoring in Forestry Resource Management in 1999 from UBC. My first 6-month work term with West Fraser was in the summer of 1999, and three years later I took on a full-time role with West Fraser as a Silviculture Coordinator which involved coordination of all post-harvest activities to free growing timber in several of West Fraser Mills Operation areas.
I have grown my career with this Company and I really like taking on new challenges.
I was excited about the opportunity to take on an Environmental Management System (EMS) Coordinator role in 2003 along with my current duties. In this role I maintained operating procedures forms and records, ran quarterly committee meetings, and completed the yearly management reviews. I became a Registered Professional Forester in February of 2003 and continued to take on new opportunities with West Fraser. For the summer of 2005, I worked as a Quality Control Assistant at Quesnel Sawmill and at the end of that summer I became a Planning Coordinator at the Quesnel Woodlands Division.
I have worked as a Safety Coordinator, a Quality Control/Relief Supervisor and a Sawmill Supervisor at Northstar Lumber before I re-joined the Quesnel Woods group as a Planning Coordinator . In 2012, I joined the Fraser Lake Sawmill as a Harvesting Supervisor progressing to Superintendent working with the operations team overseeing logging and hauling activities supplying logs to Fraser Lake Sawmill. My career keeps building with West Fraser, now, I am the woods manager for our Pacific Inland Resources mill in Smithers."
- Matt Woods Manager
Born and raised in Quesnel, BC, I completed my Bachelor of Science in Forestry from UBC in 1999. As a Registered Professional Forester and started my journey with West Fraser in 2006 as an Operations Coordinator. In this role I was given the opportunity to coordinate and supervise logging and supervise logging and road rebuilding contractors, supervise bridge, large culvert, and arch pipe installation, and provide coverage for log-yard supervisors.
I progressed into an Operations Superintendent position, where I lead a team of seven operations coordinators to ensure the delivery of logs to facilities with the highest standard of safety, environment, and cost control. Today, I am a Woods Manager for our operations in B.C."
- Chad Woods Manager
I graduated from U of A with my Bachelor of Science in Forestry in 2009. I got my first opportunity with West Fraser in 2008 where I worked as a Forestry Summer Student in Williams Lake.
When I completed my degree in 2009 I started a term job in Operations and Silviculture working in Williams Lake and 100 Mile House. In 2010 and 2011, I worked in an Operations Term contract in Williams Lake where I got the opportunity to become a crew leader and worked on permit development in Likely, BC. I often worked in the Cariboo Chilcotin area on timber recce’s, layout, and firefighting.
Since then I have become a full-time Forestry Assistant at Fraser Lake Sawmill. I spend a lot of time in Burns Lake working on permit acquisitions. Some of the training courses I have had the opportunity to complete are: Riparian Classification, Timber/Log Quality, Fisheries Sensitive Watersheds, Cruising, Supervisory Skills, Harvesting, and Silviculture Surveying and Site Plan Data Collection."
- Erin Planning/Timber Supply Supervisor